by Cate Murway
There are several historic Bristol on the Delaware Facebook pages, among them are “You’re probably from Bristol if you remember...”, “Bristol Buzz” and “Bristol United”, proof positive that people from the Borough keep the town forever in their hearts. Distance may keep them apart, but distance, no matter how far, can't change those feelings in their hearts.
Navy Seaman David [meaning beloved or friend] Edward “Dave” McGlynn, BHS class of 1959, has demonstrated imagination in his photographic presentations. His creative talent in the arts communicates and may even inspire others.
Dave won the Facebook photography contest and his picture is the “profile photo” for the Bristol United page.
He creatively shot the town scene viewed down Mulberry Street from a friend’s apartment on the top floor of the Grundy Towers.
Life behind a lens is a new venture for him. “I started taking pictures about 18 months ago. I bought a camera for a gift for a friend but it never made it there,” he smiled.
“People keep telling me to frame them,” Dave shared about his pictures.
His favorite choice is taking pictures of landscapes.
Coincidentally, Dave shares his birthday with Claude Monet, a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to landscape painting.
Local celebrated artist, Joseph [Joe] Sagolla just completed a painting of one of Dave’s photographs for him to hang in his Radcliffe Street home.
A family friend, Nora Kate Arant Brennan, VJM ’88 grew up in Bristol. Her late father, Army Air Corps veteran, Bernard Arant was a close friend of Dave and his father and the three of them also worked together at Rohm and Haas.
“I think Dave’s pictures are fantastic. They represent everything I remember and he captures it with nostalgia. This is a talent he discovered later in his life.”
Nora also appreciates Dave’s kindnesses and time that he shared with her after her dad’s death. “He has been a bridge to my father.”
Dave was born in Bristol, the 2nd of six children of the late Marjorie “Marge” [Ferry], originally from Michigan and Bristolian Edward Patrick McGlynn, but Dave is the only sibling still residing in the Borough.
His paternal grandparents, Patrick and Clara McGlynn had made their home in Bristol also.
It was St. Mark’s for him for elementary school and then Jefferson Avenue School for junior high where Dave played some football. He had also been a Boy Scout in his youth and for a short while, he played the trumpet in the Bracken Cadets, the junior Drum and Bugle Corps. He worked as a stock boy at the late Fenton Larrisey’s mom-and-pop corner grocery/butcher shop with the overhead Unity- Frankford sign on Walnut and Wood Streets. “He had the butcher block there and the best meats”.
When he left school, he worked in the Thomas L. Leedom’s Carpet Mill before joining the Navy. Dave was in the service from 1959 to1963, as a storekeeper on a carrier during the Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis in Cuba or the Caribbean Crisis. The US was demanding that the Soviets dismantle the missile bases already under construction or completed in Cuba and remove all offensive weapons. Dave was also stationed in Spain for 2 of those years while he was enlisted in the Navy.
He truly enjoyed a recent presentation at The Bristol Riverside Theater, “Touching History through the Bristol Borough Residents who lived through WWII”.
The film clips were priceless.
“I never knew Dr. McIlvaine was a SEAL.”
Following his military stint, he found a career as a Chemical operator at Rohm and Haas, just as his father had. “A lot of family at Rohm and Haas,” he reminisced.
The mills and factories constituted the backbone of Bristol's industrial economy well into the twentieth century.
As a retiree, Dave is living for adventure and life experiences.
His close friend, Mary Alice Kehoe stated, “He is quite a character, a great grandfather and a great greatgrandfather, also!”
She and her sister, Joanne Marie “Jodi” donated the 32 foot tall and 18 foot wide spruce Christmas tree that now commands the corner of Mill and Radcliffe Streets at the entrance to the Bristol Wharf.
She admires the “blue collar worker who is mastering the computer and photography”.
They work out together and do cross training circuits at Transformations, LLC.
“It’s always an adventure with Dave. He is willing to try anything!”
Dave once enjoyed playing only in the neighborhood alleys, swimming in the canal and in the river and falling into the canal through the railroad ties, but this Thursday's child has far to go.
Together he and Mary traveled to experience the undeniable breathtaking allure of Hawaii, draped in emerald valleys, sharp Kauai mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements.
Dave suggested that they take a helicopter ride over the razor sharp mountains.
Their ride developed mechanical rotor problems and another helicopter came to “rescue” them. “I loved it. It was beautiful.”
Dave is extremely proud of his two daughters, Colleen and Katherine, his 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter and the newest additions, the almost year old twin great grandchildren, Aiden and Adrianna.
His life is full and rewarding.
A running enthusiast, he ran his 1st marathon in 1981 with some of his Rohm and Haas colleagues. He also participated in Penn Relays marathons and ran the Mill Street Run.
Dave is the VP of the 300-member-strong Celtic Heritage Foundation. He and his friend, Mary, the entertainment co-chairs, coordinated the continuous music and dancing for the town’s rich Celtic heritage celebrations that drew between 4,000 and 5,000 people.
The Irish eyes were smiling on Sunday, June 26th when the Celtic Heritage Foundation held its 15th Annual Celtic Day at the Bristol Wharf and Lions Park in Bristol Borough.
The highlight of the festival is always its traditional Irish music. The premiere band was the Bogside Rogues, performing Celtic rock.
He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians [AOH] and he maintains the grounds around the Celtic Cross in Bristol Lions Park.
While kayaking on the river in his “Irish Navy”, he can catch some different angles for his photographs.
Last June 24th, the sunshine broke through the clouds just in time for Bristol Borough’s first ever Canal Festival, co-sponsored by Landmark Towns and the Friends of the Delaware Canal. “Irish Dave” glided through the water as a member of the one-man “Irish Navy” in his kayak decorated with green three-leaf clovers.
He is also on the BCHF Board of Directors and he always helps with the setups and preparations and he is involved in the canal cleanup.
Dave shared that “I grew up in the best time. Rock and roll and everyone got along.
Steve van Buren and his wife owned a car dealership and they ran the dances with all the up and coming new entertainment.”
He clearly recalls DA haircuts and peg pants, his tee shirts and jeans days, and his first car, a light green Ford Falcon that he purchased in 1963.
What changed in Bristol?
“Personally, I think the town never looked better. It looks fabulous.
There were a ton of bakeries in the town. The best were the donuts from Kay’s Bakery and the best tomato pie came from Bristol House.”
What’s the best about Bristol?
“The people. It’s so close knit.”
Who was your greatest influence?
“My dad. He was a great man. My mother wasn’t a very good cook but her meatloaf was always good. They taught us manners and respect. Thank you and please seems to be fading away.”
He ensures that the classy lessons continue, leading his family by example.
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